France, UK & Spain announce COVID restrictions for China arrivals
European Center for Disease Prevention and Control urged the bloc’s governments not to panic, citing Europe’s “higher population immunity”
Health officials in the United Kingdom and France announced that all travelers from China bound for France, or the United Kingdom, will be required to present a proof of a negative COVID-19 test result before boarding their flights.
According to the government in Paris, the test results must be less than 48 hours old, and that some passengers will be subjected to further random screenings upon arrival. Any positive test will be sequenced to check for new variants of the virus.
UK’s Department of Health and Social Care issued a statement that also said that all travelers whose UK-bound flights originate in China will have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than two days before travel.
Government of Spain also announced that arrivals from China will be required to test negative for COVID-19 or show proof they have been fully vaccinated against it.
France, UK and Spain are joining Italy that became the first European Union country to announce the testing requirements for Chinese visitors on Wednesday.
Rome have also urged the European Union to adopt a unified bloc-wide strategy to control an influx of coronavirus-carrying Chinese visitors after China suspended its rigid “zero-COVID” strategy earlier this month.
But EU health agency declared that mandatory screenings for all Chinese tourists were “unjustified.”
European Center for Disease Prevention and Control urged the bloc’s governments not to panic, citing Europe’s “higher population immunity” and greater exposure to “variants currently circulating in China,” while promising to “remain vigilant.”
European Union members Portugal and Austria are against the COVID-19 restrictions.
Germany has not announced any new rules so far. German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said that the country was working on a system to monitor variants across all European airports, that would theoretically detect and alert authorities to any unknown variant of the virus.
China condemned European and American testing requirements as “unfounded and discriminatory,” accusing the United States and its allies of attempting to “sabotage China’s three years of COVID-19 control efforts and attack the country’s system,” with Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbi adding that China’s “epidemic situation” was “predictable and under control”.
According to Western media reports, up to 248 million people, or nearly 18% of China’s total population, were infected with COVID-19 in December alone.